Tower Hide, Strumpshaw Fen

Matt Howard


Last year’s floods surged salt

up the Yare and spilled through here.


I counted the starved, decaying pike

surfaced by so many losses.


Now I look for migrants

and while I scan you read to me –


abundance of mallard, greylag,

the pure-white belligerence of swans.


A tern holds before its drop;

that deadfall,


re-emergence and rough dividend

of too-small silver flailing.


You are reading now of the lapwing,

the curved crest, that joyful cry,


of all its resident names: green plover,

pewit, pie-wipe, lappinch, chewit;


such fresh-water in your migrant mouth.


Matt Howard is 35 and lives in Norwich, England, where he works for RSPB. Matt is also a steering group member of New Networks for Nature. Previous poems have appeared in several magazines including The North, The Rialto and Resurgence, with poems also in the current issues of Stand and Magma.

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